Monica Gambarotto
Article by Monica Gambarotto

In Venice with Kids: how is Venice built?

 

Hi kids! As you probably know, several colleagues of the Best Venice Guides, including myself, have been working for years to project special guided tours for kids and their families! What we promote is guided tours that can let you discover our city with all its history and art, its ancient or more recent legends handed down from one generation to the other for centuries… but at the same time our aim is to engage you with quizzes, puzzles, treasure hunts, so that you can experience Venice and have fun at the same time!

I would like to introduce to you one of our tours, perfect for those of you that are from 6 to 10 years old (and perfect for your parents, as well!)…

How is Venice Built?

This is the title of a walking tour that will lead us into the Venetian maze, in search of the origins of Venice itself and of its buildings…

St. Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square

This is the most important square of our city. Actually, it appears quite desolated in this picture, it is totally empty… this photo was taken not too long ago, during the sad period of the pandemic… however, the image is perfect to give you the idea of how large this square is…

By the way, have you seen how many windows there are in all these buildings that are called Procuratie? Wouldn’t it be a nice idea to count all of them?

St. Mark’s Square has not always looked like this. In the past it used to be much smaller, only later did it undergo a series of modifications.

The most important buildings that we can find here, Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Doges’ Palace, have also been rebuilt and transformed over the centuries! At some point in time, the Palace was even connected with a white building through a closed bridge

Here it is in the picture!

The Closed Bridge between the Doges’ Palace and the white building
The Closed Bridge between the Doges’ Palace and the white building

Who knows where this bridge takes and why it was originally built…

Talking about bridges: we will find quite a few of them during our walk, we can also count how many we will cross together. The bridges are the connection between islands, otherwise we would always have to swim across the canals or to use a boat (anyhow, you probably already know that it is forbidden to dive and to swim in the Venetian canals…).

We will admire the façades of the beautiful palazzos where the noble Venetian families used to live and to carry out their business, storing precious goods and then selling them. Do you know that by taking a look at the windows of the houses you can approximately guess how ancient the building are?

Windows of the 14th and 15th centuries
Windows of the 14th and 15th centuries

We will look for important details (such as the wells, and we will tell you all their secrets) as well as for spooky ones… for example, how would you feel if at night, along a narrow and dark alley of the Venetian labyrinth, you met someone with a face like this?

Detail in Santa Maria Formosa
Detail in Santa Maria Formosa

We will also learn how the Rialto Bridge changed over the centuries: it has not always been such a massive stone structure… aren’t you curious to know how it looked like in the past?

How can we get oriented in Venice?

We will try to get oriented along the narrow streets and small squares, so that we will never get lost… a city map will be really useful at this point.

You will also notice that the names of the streets, of the squares and of all the other places in Venice are unusual, quite frequently they are still written in Venetian, not even in Italian… at times even the locals do not fully understand the meaning of some of the ancient Venetian names.

The name of one of the Venetian alleys
The name of one of the Venetian alleys

Maps, however, are not always very detailed and precise, and it might become difficult to find our way out of the maze using a map… and even our smartphones can fail in helping us out…

What if we tried to test you? How would you feel if we asked you to take the lead and show us the way to some hidden courtyard? Would you accept the challenge?

Hidden courtyard
Hidden courtyard

You know, walking in these off the beaten path corners we might also meet some famous people, like this one for example…

A famous Venetian Merchant (picture taken from the web)
A famous Venetian Merchant (picture taken from the web)

Ok, maybe we will not really meet this guy, but we might see some houses that once belonged to him…

Sure enough, we will have lots of fun, and we will also engage the grownups in our adventure! Venice is a bottomless source of discoveries, for guests of all ages!So I will be waiting for you together with my colleagues of the Best Venice Guides! We will be more than happy to show you our marvelous city. Ciao!

Monica Gambarotto

BestVeniceGuides
www.guidedtoursinvenice.com

if you are interested in a guided tour with Monica Gambarotto please mail her directly monica.gambarotto@gmail.com